Richard Meier’s Moment

Richard Phibbs

A retrospective of the architect’s worldwide work shines at the Fondazione Bisazza museum.

With his Ara Pacis Museum and Jubilee Church, both in Rome, Richard Meier has done more than his fair share to help Italy catch up to the rest of the world when it comes to contemporary architecture. And now, in celebration of Meier’s half century in the architecture business, the Italian Fondazione Bisazza—the nonprofit cultural arm of the glass-mosaic tilemaker—is mounting a retrospective of his worldwide work at its museum in Montecchio, about an hour west of Venice.

In addition to models, sketches, renderings and photographs of completed buildings, like L.A.’s Getty Center, “Richard Meier. Architecture and Design” (May 17 to July 28) will feature imagery of unbuilt works as well as lesser-known design products, including tableware the architect created with Swid Powell for Reed & Barton.

But this is more than just a loving look back: Meier has also created a new site-specific installation for the show, which will become part of the foundation’s permanent collection. Working in his signature all-white idiom, Meier has imagined a forest of vertical prisms, each one covered in—what else?—Bisazza mosaic tiles, with a lone horizontal element nestled among them. Meant to provide a meditative moment amid the foundation’s galleries, the windowed space is part sophisticated spa, part Roman ruin and all Meier. The Fondazione Bisazza museum is at Viale Milano 56; fondazionebisazza.it.